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U.N. says Syria refugees top 3 million mark

The number of refugees fleeing the war in Syria has surpassed 3 million, the United Nations reported Friday, an increase of 1 million over the past year.

The grim milestone means that one in every eight Syrians has fled across the border, with an additional 6.5 million displaced from their homes inside the country amid what the U.N. refugee agency described as increasingly desperate conditions.

"These include cities where populations are surrounded, people are going hungry and civilians are being indiscriminately killed," the agency said.

Yet conditions are scarcely better for Syrians who escape. The United Nations found that refugees who have taken shelter in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan are struggling to find jobs, affordable food and adequate housing. A recent U.N. survey found that four in five Syrian refugees in cities are struggling to make a living.

A recent surge in violence has forced out many civilians, particularly those living in the northern areas of Aleppo and Raqqa, where the extremist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria controls swaths of territory as part of its self-styled caliphate stretching across Syria and Iraq.

The U.N. high commissioner for refugees, Antonio Guterres, said the Syrian crisis "has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them."

Donor nations have contributed more than $4.1 billion since 2012, but the agency says an additional $2 billion is needed by the end of the year.

U.N. says Syria refugees top 3 million mark 08/29/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 29, 2014 10:17pm]

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